What a great way to end my "Year of Living Theatrically" with a classic musical. Olney Theatre Center's production of "My Fair Lady" did not disappoint. It was fresh and exciting, and I felt like I was hearing every line for the very first time. In the key rolls of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins Brittany Campbell and Danny Bernardy were simply magnificent. Their powerful singing voices carried every note to a new height, and their chemistry was authentic and playfully adversarial to the inevitable end. I especially enjoyed Danny's homage to Rex Harrison's storied portrayal of the gruff professor as he walked a wonderful balance between the "spoken" song and just letting loose with his beautiful voice. Another revelation with Chris Genebach, whom I've seen in both plays and musicals throughout the year--in the roll of the aging bon vivant Alfred P. Doolittle, he absolutely headlined every scene he was in. Often leading the ensemble in well-timed choreography with an effortless aplomb. And the comic genius of the production was Valerie Leonard in the duel rolls of Mrs. Pearce the head of the household staff at Professor Higgins place, and his sharp-witted mother, Mrs. Higgins. There wasn't a weak link in the lot. Additionally, the sound effects at the races of the horses running was beautifully run through various speakers to carry the sound in a complete circle around the theater to great effect. I must also give a shout out to the costumes, which were beautiful, too. DMV friends, run, don't walk, to get tickets for this one--I can promise you will not be disappointed. I just wish Olney had posted better photos... Oh, well.
|Celebrating the "Rain In Spain"!--She's got it! Col. Pickering (Todd Scofield), Eliza Doolittle (Brittany Campbell), and Professor Henry Higgins (Danny Bernardy)|
|Higgins and Doolittle dancing some more.|
|Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Benjamin Lurye) finding it difficult to propose to Miss. Doolittle.|
|Alfred P. Doolittle (Chris Genebach) and ensemble singing about getting to the church on time.|